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HP Compaq Presario C500 review: Compaq Presario C500

A good value laptop that outperforms many other notebooks at the same price -- the only feature missing is a DVD burner.

Dennis Advani
2 min read

The Compaq Presario C500 is an attractive budget laptop which is finished in two tones of matte silver. The unit makes the most of the screen real estate with a very small bezel, and has a surprisingly small footprint. The unit is quite thick, however, due to the exhaust vents being underneath -- it even has feet to prop the laptop up off the desk, which is a little unusual.
All its ports and connectors are conveniently accessible on both sides of the laptop. There is actually nothing on the back you would need to reach around for -- not even the power supply -- which is great as you will never have to flip it around to plug anything in.
The build quality is mostly good, though the keyboard is somewhat flimsy -- it moves up and down as you type. Easily accessible above the keyboard are dedicated buttons for volume and wireless networking. These light up when active which is great for quick control and feature status.
The Presario C500 is powered by an Intel 1.7Ghz Celeron Mobile processor. It may not be fast, but it gets the job done. The unit comes with 512MB RAM as standard and it has a spare memory slot so you can easily upgrade -- running Vista can be memory hungry, and so a minimum of 1GB is recommended -- even for the Basic version.
The C500's 1280 x 800 pixel widescreen has a nice gloss finish and offers quite reasonable levels of brightness. Only one combo drive included so you won't b able to burn DVDs but all other equipment levels are as you would expect, including all standard features such as 10/100 Ethernet, 802.11g wireless networking, a modem, three USB ports and VGA and S-Video connections.
Battery performance testing wasn't particularly noteworthy. Under the standard Battery Eater test its battery life was only average at one hour thirty-seven minutes. This is with wireless networking turned off, so you can expect slightly bigger impact on power if you want to use Wi-Fi.
Performance also wasn't spectacular compared to some of its bigger cousins. The Presario C500 achieved an overall 1507 with PCMark 05. Higher end laptops will generally score over 2000 so it is definitely not going to compete with them, but compared to other laptops in its price range this unit sits well above average.


HP Compaq Presario C500

The Good

Excellent performance for the price. Decent 15.4" screen. Ports within easy reach.

The Bad

No DVD burner. Flimsy keyboard.

The Bottom Line

A good value laptop that outperforms many other notebooks at the same price -- the only feature missing is a DVD burner.

BatteryEater Pro reader test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance.)
HP Compaq Presario C500

PCMark 05
(Longer bars indicate better performance.)
HP Compaq Presario C500

At $999, this laptop is definitely good value. Features are reasonable, but a DVD burner would be a good addition to the package. Its performance is better than many other budget laptops we've tested in the past and overall it is a solid product well worth consideration.